Curtis Perry Outtake: Pontiac Executive

Something about this shot grabbed me. I think it’s the fact that it looks so much like it could have been shot in the late ’70s or ’80s. It reminds me of simpler times.

And it reminds me of a similar Pontiac I was the caretaker of for a few months in the summer of 1977.

That one was a ’68 Catalina, almost exactly like this one. I was living out in San Bernardino that smoggy hot summer, at the remote studio for the new little tv station that we were all trying to get on the air. An old friend and her boyfriend dropped this Pontiac off, as they were going to Japan for the summer. The air was dreadful out there then, and come Friday night, I’d head west on I-10 to the ocean. I’d take the big Poncho instead of my Dodge van, roll down the windows, and savor the air getting steadily cooler and cleaner once I got half way up the valley or so. And by the time I hit downtown, it was really starting to get nice.

The Pontiac was a classic barge, and its shocks undoubtedly weren’t getting any better with age. But I enjoyed it; it was one of my big car bonding experiences. The 400 V8 was barely audible as it rolled towards the last gloaming of light over the Pacific. Driving back into the smog on Sunday night or Monday morning was always painful. Fortunately I arranged to transfer to the main West LA studio by September. The Pontiac was gone by then, which was just as well. I’d had my fun with it, but it wasn’t exactly my thing. Within a few months I’d found a Peugeot 404 for sale, which very much was my thing.